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Skipper Kurt Gidley has identified the next fortnight of football as must win matches if the Knights are any chance of playing finals football this season.  

The men in red and blue have struggled for consistency in the opening rounds, with just two wins from their opening eight weeks to sit in second last position on the competition table.

Gidley knows his side must start building momentum now and it starts with two vital matches against Penrith and Manly before another bye.

"I think it’s a good thing focusing on two games and certainly this game that we’ve got coming up at home against the Panthers," Gidley says.

"It’s a really important game for us to get our season back on track and we definitely need to go two-and-two in this little block before another bye.

"So it’s a good opportunity, because you don’t have to look too far ahead.

"I think it’s pretty important this part of the year."

While the Knights have conceded 172 points in the opening eight weeks, they defended extremely well in their tense 16-12 loss against the Bulldogs in Round 8.     

Gidley believes his team can take plenty of belief out of that resilient performance moving forward.  

"I think we can take some confidence out of the way we defended against the Bulldogs," he says.

"Our defence has been inconsistent to start the year and not where we want it to be.

"And I think the best teams win on defence.

"The Bulldogs game we did defend strongly and they scored two tries off kicks, which were bat backs, which is hard to defend at times.

"But defensively we can take some positives out of that and we’ll certainly need to defend well in these next two games."

Gidley says defence will again be the key when the Knights face the Panthers at Hunter Stadium on Sunday. 

He has vivid recollections of the opening round clash in Penrith, a match lost 30-8 after he, Darius Boyd and Tyrone Roberts all suffered injuries.    

"It seems like a long time ago now, but I remember the game," he says.

"We played pretty well in the first half and the second half was pretty chaotic where we lost myself and Darius in the first half and then Tyrone.

"So it was a tough second half where blokes were playing out of position.

"I’d like to think that if we all stayed fit, we could have won that game.

"Hopefully we keep everyone on the park this weekend, because we need to start building some momentum and a bit more confidence again."